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Friday, September 6, 2013

September 28th 2013: History in the making

I've written about the inaugural RTC Europe event before. But since it's really getting close, I figured I'd draw your attention to this great event once more. Because things are really starting to heat up!

First of all, there's one class that makes this entire thing worth while. Even when you have to fly in from the other side of the world to be there.

The Day Families Became Self-aware

Now I don't know if it's just my vivid imagination, but this is something I would give my left arm for to see. Even though there's not much in the class description, this sounds like a truly revolutionary thing. Let's look at the broader context of past Revit developments shall we?

What if reporting parameters were the first glance at a whole new level of parametrics? Sort of a Proof of Concept to show that it is theoretically possible to have separate building components respond to changes outside their own definition?
What if Adaptive Components were the beta stage of testing? While reporting parameters were very limited in functionality and useability, AC's are fully capable of creating a geometry based on a wide variety of external influences.
What if sh*t is about to get real and we will be seeing the final stage of this development: Families that are not only geometrically influenced by their surroundings but also have the capability to change other properties based on their host, surrounding elements or other stuff I can't even think of right now?

Off course I could be way off. It's late and it could just be my imagination. But wouldn't it be cool to have a duct valve automatically inherit fire resisting properties of the wall it's mounted in? Or a door that recognizes it's host to be an Exterior wall and automatically turn on "self-closing". This functionality, should it be added, would truly be a game-changer. It would basically diminish coordination time for this type of "rules". 

And would pretty much make up for the somewhat disappointing lack of big improvements since AC's and Conceptual Massing.

Why not wait and see?

Why am I wondering about this? I mean, I'll be there right? 
Well, not exactly. Even though I have begged and pleaded until my knees bled, I'm still one of very few persons in the entire world that actually doesn't have a choice. I won't be there. 

I'll be in the other room teaching my own class.

Which is also what keeps me up at night. I mean, I have to compete with freakin Skynet to get some people into my class. So, I did what any sane person would do when confronted with a situation where they're about to get crushed: I got someone bigger and badder to help out...

The Day IFC Became Parametric

Yup, that's right. I said it. 

And I'm not talking about some cheezy workaround. I'm talking full-blown Custom Data Roundtripping Parametric. The real deal. The holy grail of Open BIM: complete independence of authoring software (anybody else seeing the irony here?)
I'm actually going to show off other people's work and hope it's awesomeness in some way reflects on me. Whilst all I did was ask for help and send the occasional up-lifting supportive email about how great things are getting along and how cool the result will be. Which reminds me: if anyone has a smiley cheering with pom poms, I'd like a copy of that.

So who are those giants doing all the hard work? 

July 1st there was a very special release of the Sourceforge Autodesk Open Source IFC Exporter. For the first time ever, a third party developer, Tom Pesman, contributed to this exporter, based on a functionality request I made when developing the Dutch Revit Standards. On or shortly after September 28th, another 3rd party developer will add functionality to this Open Source project:

No less then the guys from Witas, a belgian firm, also mostly responsible for incorporating MEP into the Dutch Revit Standards, are stepping up and doing what they do best: bring us awesome tools that unleash the full potential of Revit. 
For this particular project they decided to deliver the code needed for fully adjustable parametric capabilities: the ability to create custom PSets and fill them with custom parameters. That means having the ability to export just that information to IFC, where you want it and how you want it.

Data loss? Another myth busted.

But that's not all. 

I mean, it's Matt Jezyk we're up against. Bringing Skynet...
If you say IFC development, you automatically say GeometryGym. Jon Mirtschin, founder and IFC Guru, did his magic on the export and import of parametric IFC's. He created a Proof of Concept that will show the ability to create Revit geometry, export it while holding the data, changing the resulting IFC and re-importing the changed file. While keeping parametric constraints so that we can edit the re-imported geometry in Revit.

Not possible you say? Think again... And come see for yourself. 
The best part: even though Jon's awesomeness takes him years beyond the capabilities of the native Revit functionality, he too agreed to hand over his code to the Open Source project. And IMHO that's about as collaborative as one can get.

IFC not capable of holding parametric constraints? Busted.

Where will you be on September 28th?

If you want to know what the next step is in the Revit evolution, go see Matt to check out what The Factory is cooking.
If you want to see the closing piece in the IFC MythBusters Saga, find me.

Either way, it's going to be Epic. Do you really want to not be in Delft?

Oh, one last thing...

If you do attend my class, hold back on the questions. Time permitted, I have some other awesome stuff to show you, based on that other (often forgotten) Open Source dataformat: gbXML... Since it's not really realeted to IFC it has to be outside of the regular class framework. But it will most definately blow your mind!